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Nigerians bypass CBN restrictions, trade 78 Billion Naira Cryptocurrencies in 3 Months

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CBN issues framework for Mobile Money Operators

Although the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) forbids crypto-related transactions within its ‘financial space’, Nigerians have traded at least N77.75bn ($185m) worth of Bitcoin in the first three months of the year.

This is a 5.71 per cent increase from the N73.54bn worth of Bitcoin that was traded in the corresponding period of 2021, according to data made available to our correspondent by Paxful, one of the major peer-to-peer cryptocurrency platforms in the nation, the Punch reports.

Trade from Nigeria accounted for 25.87 per cent of the total N300.48bn ($715m) worth of Bitcoin that was traded on the platform in the quarter under review.

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Global trade on the platform showed an 8.33 per cent increase from the N277.377bn ($660m) that was traded on it in the corresponding period of 2021.

According to the firm, Nigeria was its largest trading country in 2021 with 16,000 daily trades. In the period under review, the market cap of BTC dropped by $36.90bn from $902.10bn as of January 1, 2022, to $865.20bn as of March 31, 2022.

This was despite the CBN’s restrictions on cryptocurrencies in the nation. In February of 2021, the CBN asked banks in the nation to stop transacting in and with entities dealing in crypto assets.

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The bank said, “Further to earlier regulatory directives on the subject, the bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.”

What the President of Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria and General Secretary of Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee of Nigeria said in an interview with The PUNCH.

Senator Ihenyen said that it was time for the CBN to rethink its stance on crypto.

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“Yes, I strongly believe that it is time the CBN rethinks its stance on crypto in Nigeria. No doubt that the CBN must have had compelling reasons for shutting out cryptocurrency in the country’s banking and financial system in February 2021.

“But 15 months later, all stakeholders, including the CBN, must have benefitted from seeing the true facts and figures of cryptocurrency adoption as well as the risks and opportunities. Today we know that less than 1 per cent of cryptocurrency transactions are linked with illicit transactions.

“Today we know that our law enforcement agencies need more transparency in order to aid their investigations, not the currency blackout in the space. Today we know that crypto exchanges such as Binance, Luno, Bundle, and the rest of them are the centralised gateway to the crypto world that should be accommodated as allied partners to CBN and other regulators.”

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